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What Happens If I Don’t Comply with Sex Offender Registration in Ohio?

The criminal penalties for sex offenses are unique in that sex offenders are required to regularly register and report changes to a wide range of personal information from their residential address and employment to email addresses and phone numbers. Registered sex offenders are then listed in a publicly available database, and in some instances, neighbors are notified when a sex offender moves into the area.

Sex offender registration can be incredibly damaging both personally and professionally and it is easy to see why some sex offenders might attempt to avoid registration. However, the penalties for failing to comply with sex offender registration rules in Ohio can be just as severe as the original sex offense.

If you have questions about registering as a sex offender, contact the knowledgeable Columbus sex crimes attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates today at .

Sex Offender Registration Requirements

The law regarding sex offender registration sets up different requirements for the frequency and duration of registration depending on the severity of the sexual offense. The registration requirements are set into three tiers, with Tier I being the least serious and Tier III being the most serious.

  • Tier I offenses include crimes such as voyeurism, pandering obscenity, and sexual imposition. Sex offenders convicted of Tier I crimes are required to register and verify their information annually for 15 years following their initial registration as a sex offender.
  • Tier II offenses include crimes such as compelling prostitution, kidnapping with sexual motivation, and pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. Sex offenders convicted of Tier II crimes are required to register and verify their information every 180 days for 25 years following their initial registration as a sex offender.
  • Tier III offenses include crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and felonious assault with sexual motivation. Sex offenders convicted of Tier III crimes are required to register and verify their information every 90 days for the rest of their life.

Failure to Comply with Registration Laws

Not only do sex offenders have to provide periodic verification based on their tiers, but sex offenders of all tiers must promptly register with sheriffs in other counties if they enter that county for certain reasons or periods of time. For instance, a sex offender must register immediately if they enter a new county to attend an institution of higher learning. Ohio law does not differentiate between registration requirements, so any instance where a sex offender fails to register when they were required to do so can trigger severe penalties.

Ohio treats the failure to comply with sex offender registration as a serious offense and ties the penalties to the original sexual offense that lead to the registration requirement. The offense of failing to register is treated as the same level of offense as the highest level of sexual offense in the original conviction.

Failing to Register Can Lead to Prison

As the offense for failing to register is tied to the original crime, an example would be if a sex offender is required to register based on a first-degree felony conviction. The failure to comply with the sex offender registration laws would then also be considered a first-degree felony and the prison term for a first-degree felony in Ohio is between three and 11 years.

Ohio law underscores the seriousness of the failure to register by elevating the offense to a fourth-degree felony if the underlying sexual offense that required registration was a fifth-degree felony or misdemeanor. Fourth-degree felonies are punishable by six to 18 months in prison. Additionally, the failure to comply with sex offender registration would be considered a probation violation and could lead to the reimposition of prison time on the original sex offense.

How a Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Ohio’s laws on sex offender registration impose an additional burden on those convicted of a sexual offense, even after the criminal penalties have been satisfied. The registration rules provide for many instances that require registration beyond the tier requirements, and it could be easy to make a mistake and end up facing time in prison for failing to comply with Ohio’s sex offender registration law.

If you are faced with sex offender registration requirements it is important to contact a knowledgeable Columbus criminal defense attorney who can help make sure you stay in compliance. If you’ve been charged with a sex offense, the surest way to avoid the requirements of sex offender registration is to mount a strong defense and avoid conviction.

Luftman, Heck & Associates has experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyers who will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at for a free and confidential consultation.

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Columbus, OH 43215-5335


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